Trudeau will not testify on gravel-throwing incident from 2021

Court documents obtained by the CBC said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided two accounts of whether the gravel struck him.

Trudeau will not testify on gravel-throwing incident from 2021
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
Remove Ads

An Ontario judge has ruled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not testify at the trial of a man accused of throwing gravel at him during a 2021 election pit stop in London.

A former People's Party riding association president faces an assault with a weapon charge from an incident on September 6, 2021. Shane Marshall of St. Thomas supposedly threw gravel at the prime minister and is set to stand trial on Tuesday.

In January, Marshall's lawyers served Trudeau with a subpoena to testify in court owing to his comments on the alleged incident.

"There were little bits of gravel, and I may have been hit," said Trudeau. "I had someone throw pumpkin seeds at me a few years ago."

Court documents obtained by the CBC said he provided two accounts of whether the gravel struck him.

In one version, the documents said, "Immediately while aboard the bus, the PM told reporters that he 'might have' been struck, but seemed unsure if any pebbles had hit him. When challenged on whether anything had hit him, the PM replied, 'Does it matter?'"

However, the subpoena conveyed that "in subsequent recordings, the PM states with certainty that he had been struck by gravel."

Marshall's legal counsel, Phillip Millar, who intended to cross-examine the prime minister, expressed grave disappointment following Monday's ruling. 

"The prime minister won't be compelled to attend the trial [on Tuesday]. In the criminal system, there's no appealing an order that the judge has made," said Millar. 

As an MP, Trudeau has legal immunity via parliamentary privilege, where he has unconditional protection from civil or criminal liability for statements made during his legislative duties. 

Millar contends this limits his client's right to a fair trial. 

"What it does do, potentially, is trigger a charter argument for our client to say that this is unfair." 

Millar said any citizen should have the right to ask questions of the person involved in an allegation, adding he would likely ask for an adjournment of the start of the trial to prepare a charter argument. 

Lawyer Fredrick Schumann argued successfully on Trudeau's behalf for the quashed subpoena. 

"They charged my client with assaulting the prime minister with a weapon. They specified the prime minister, and we would like to explore the narrative around what happened," pressed Millar. 

"In any other situation with any other person who is not a political figure, that person would be a witness, but the Crown chose not to call [Trudeau]." 

Millar said it's "unbelievably rare" for someone who has been allegedly assaulted not to have already received the call to testify, especially in a criminal case.

"In every prosecution of this type, the complainant or victim would be a witness and testify as to what happened," he said. "For the assault to be established in law, the person on the receiving end has to know it's happening."

Video footage showed that as Trudeau boarded his campaign bus, some gravel appeared flying from a large crowd behind him.

Marshall supposedly launched the pebbles at the prime minister, forcing his RCMP detail to hold up their hands as he got on his campaign bus. The small projectiles also supposedly hit media members, though none reported any injuries.

Marshal served as the president of the People's Party of Canada's Elgin Middlesex London riding until being relieved of his position after the alleged incident.

On Monday, the Prime Minister's Office told the CBC it wouldn't comment on the matter because it is before the courts.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Rebel News Store

Purchase your new wardrobe staple from the Rebel News Store today!


Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads